By Demion McTair. Updated 3:10 p.m., Thursday, July 30, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – Opposition Leader and President of the New Democratic Party, Dr. Godwin Friday says he plans to rebuild the Ottley Hall Marina.
On a recent edition of the NDP Monday Night Live program, Dr. Friday said “I give you this commitment that under the New Democratic Party government, we will find because the government is broke now, we will find investors. We will find the way to complete the project because I do believe that it has the tremendous potential to create jobs and also to bring revenue for the government”.
In the caption of a July 29, post on his official Facebook page, Dr. Friday said “We can grow our economy and provide new jobs by increasing yacht, boat and marine traffic”.
“I am committed to creating jobs in the shipbuilding, and boating industries by rebuilding Ottley Hall. A decision that will create a minimum of 100 new, long-term jobs,” the post says.
Dr. Friday’s post added that the rebuilding of the Ottley Hall Marina “will also give boat owners and companies the confidence that if they shop here, we have all the services and expertise they need locally. They no longer have to go to Grenada”.
The Ottley Hall Marina has long been seen by the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration as a failed project undertaken by the previous NDP administration.
THE OTTLEY HALL MARINA SCANDAL
“When the Unity Labour Party came to power in March 2001 Prime Minister Gonsalves made it clear that he would be addressing the issue of the Ottley Hall loan which stood at close to $200 million since the project itself was valued at between US $5 and $10 million,” – Searchlight Newspaper reported in 2007.
In 2007, the Italian State Agency SACE received an agreed payment of US $6 million (EC$16.2 million) from the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to settle the Ottley Hall Marina debt of EC $175 million, Searchlight reported.
In a faxed letter to Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves dated November 19, 2007, SACE’s Head of Claims and International Agreements Michal Ron stated that she was “pleased to confirm receipt of the agreed payment which was received from St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the 15th November 2007”.
“The outstanding loan on the Ottley Hall Marina Project borrowed by the New Democratic Party Government from a consortium of European banks stood at EC$175 million. This saving of some EC$159 million is a result of over six years of negotiations by Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves and Director General of Finance and Planning Maurice Edwards with SACE and the banks,” Searchlight reported in 2007.
Since the clearing of the debt, the facility has been used to some degree to offer ship repair services.